All In a Word: 100 Delightful Excursions into the Uses and Abuses of Words

All In a Word: 100 Delightful Excursions into the Uses and Abuses of Words

by Vivian Cook

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Overview

Delve into the hidden nature of words:
An irresistible mix of information, curiosity, and fun

Linguist Vivian Cook takes us on a brilliant series of excursions into the history and meaning of words: How do we learn words as a child? How are words born, and why do they die? Why do some never get spoken, and others never written? Each chapter is charmingly illustrated—and accompanied by a rich assortment of games, lists, puzzles, and quotes. From polite words to crass words, from p-c words to Shakespeare’s words, from food and wine words to jazz and drug words—the book is an exciting exploration into the abundance and variety of words.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781935554226
Publisher: Melville House Publishing
Publication date: 12/07/2010
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 8.54(w) x 11.44(h) x 0.27(d)

About the Author

Vivian Cook is a professor of applied linguistics at Newcastle University. He is the author of the bestselling Accomodating Brocolli in the Cemetary: Or Why Can't Anybody Spell, which he was inspired to write out of frustration with those who, not knowing the crucial gender difference between the British spellings Vivian and Vivien assume from his first name that he is a woman. He lives in Colchester, England.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 Thinking in Metaphors 5

2 Gassers and Slashers: Doctors' Slang 7

3 Beatles versus Stones 9

4 Making Up Words 10

5 How Many Words Do You Know? Basic Words Test 11

6 Car Names 15

7 Whose Nickname is That? 18

8 Choosing the Right Adjective: Writers' Words 21

9 Guessing Games with Words 23

10 Superheroes in Cyberspace: Science Fiction Words 25

11 What Does a Word Mean? 26

12 Cooking with Words 30

13 Fardling Gwiks: Structure Versus Content Words 33

14 Gender and First Name 36

15 Words with Many Meanings: The Case of "House" 39

16 Words in the Blender 42

17 Soft, Mellow, Fragrant and Sweet: Alcoholic Words 44

18 Of Mice and Mouses: English Plurals 48

19 Common Words 50

20 Nicknames Rule! The Power of Nicknames 53

21 Levels of Meaning 55

22 Proper Names to Words 57

23 The Shortest Word 60

24 JetSpeak: What's the Point of Long Words? 61

25 Divided by the Atlantic: American and British Words 66

26 Indian Words in English 69

27 Written Words That are Seldom Spoken 71

28 Sex and Gender 73

29 Where in the World Do They Come From? Regional Englishes 75

30 Atoms of Meaning 77

31 Word Games with Letter Arrangement 81

32 Stuff and Nonsense: Phrases with "And" 83

33 Body Parts in Metaphors 85

34 English Names for Foreign Place 87

35 Did Jeeves Speak French? French Words in English 89

36 Historian or Lawgiver: The Purposes of Dictionaries 91

37 English Words in Japanese 95

38 Word Associations 97

39 Seeing Colors 101

40 Progenies of Learning: Malapropisms 104

41 Hanky-panky with Igglepiggle: Reduplicative Words 106

42 Is the Sea Blue or Do I Just See It as Blue? Linguistic Relativity 108

43 At a Loss for Words: Aphasia 113

44 How Old are Your Words? The Vocabulary of Different Generations 115

45 Birdiest Birds: Prototypes 117

46 Tasting the Worm: Spoonerisms 118

47 Tip of the Tongue Test 120

48 "Can the Can" (Suzi Quatro): Words and Multiple Meanings 124

49 Can Sounds and Letters Have Meaning in Themselves? Sound Symbolism in Words 126

50 Concordancing: Finding Out About Words 128

51 Apes and Words 133

52 Word Games with Restricted Production 135

53 Chaucer's Words 136

54 Igpay Atinlay: Pig Latin 138

55 Forming New Words 140

56 Which Words Change Historically? 142

57 Proper English Food? The History of Food Words 143

58 What Does Oprah Winfrey Mean to You? The Semantic Differential Test 145

59 Stressed-out Nouns 148

60 Dr. Johnson's Definitions 150

61 Playing with Words 152

62 The Family Tree of English 153

63 Do you Understand Shakespeare? 155

64 A Standard History 157

65 Syllables: The Structure of Words 158

66 You Silly Politician! Changes of Meaning 160

67 Where Do English Words Come from? The Puzzle of Indo-European 163

68 Majestic Radiance: Shakespeare's New Words 166

69 Quotations on Words 168

70 Phrases with Prepositions 171

71 What is a Word? 173

72 One English or Many Englishes? 178

73 From TLV to IKA: Abbreviations for Airports 181

74 Word Games with Sequences 182

75 Can you Talk Black? 184

76 Place Names around the English-speaking World 186

77 Children's Mistakes 188

78 Four Hundred and Thirty Sets 190

79 Baby Talk across Languages 191

80 Night Night Moo: Children's Early Words 192

81 Ept and Chalant: Back-Formed Words 193

82 More Up: Children's Two-Word Combinations 194

83 Brown Blackbirds and Black Bluebottles: Compound Words 196

84 How Do Children Learn Words? 199

85 Choosing Words for Reading 204

86 How Do You Learn New Vocabulary? 207

87 Jazzin' around: Jazz Slang 209

88 Seven Sieves for Learning a Language: The Eurocom Approach 212

89 The Visions of Passionate People: Slogans of the 2000s 214

90 Guessing Words in Context 216

91 Basic English 219

92 How to Remember Ten New Words 223

93 General Semantics 224

94 Piggy in the Middle: Adding to the Middle of Words 226

95 Simplified Vocabularies: Political Correctness and Thought Control 227

96 Schizophrenic 232

97 On First-Name Terms 234

98 Using Words in Odd Ways 236

99 Warning, Words Can Damage Your Health: Newspeak 237

100 How Do You Say "No"? Negation Across Languages 242

101 How Many Words Do You Know? Advanced Words Test 245

102 The Longest Word 248

103 Words for Mother and Father 249

104 From Pillar to Post: Opposites 251

105 Breeze of the Death: Film Titles in Translation 253

106 Does a Méiguì Smell as Sweet as a Rose? 255

107 Addresses 258

108 Relatives 260

109 Pronouns 262

110 Metaphors in Different Languages 264

111 Pidgins and Creoles 265

112 Size Matters: Big Sounds, Big Things 267

113 Code-switching 269

114 The Basic Human Words 272

Answers 275

Sources 293

References 295

Index of Themes 301

Acknowledgements 305

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